Wednesday 24 February 2016

Les Manley in: Lost in L.A. - Won!*

written by Aperama

… It was like my memory had been erased. I walked away for a while – it was the only way I could see the forest for the jungle. I forgot where I'd installed the game to. It was like the game wanted me to forget that it had ever been played. Could a game really have that sort of power? It had been a week.. no, a week and a half? Two? Even the calendars didn't make any sense any more. Why would someone dip a weenie in green tapioca? Every time I tried to recall what had actually happened in it, it was like I couldn't help but fall down another well of memories. It was thankful I was keeping notes. It.. It was just all terrible. The game was about missing 'celebrities', only even though they referenced some real people, they just had horrible models take some obvious homages to real people. I was willing to say that the game had just been made so that the developers could spend some time with the models they'd hired for their 'acting talents' at first, but then I found it – it seemed something more sinister. What if the 'celebrities' were actually the code for the long lost Larry game? The only way its hypnotising effect could be explained seemed like it must have been because the game wasn't really a game. It was something else.. mind control? I had all of the questions, but none of the answers. I was going to have to look deeper.. into the game...

Where we last left off! Well, sort of..

So, here's the thing. I've played this game before. I kinda remembered it as 'innocuous' – annoying at points but at least not grating in its length or puzzle idiocy. That said, I think I could well be remembering things a touch too kindly – it's as though the subconscious part of my mind kept all of the terrible puzzles in mind, ergo remembering to scrape pigeon droppings off of a windshield. Cause a significant planetary event by reading a paper. I'd like to say that I don't remember anything else, but maybe it'll come to me when I see the screen – who's to say? The game is at least kindly enough to not allow you to dead end yourself for particularly long.. but that also means I've found a dead end in this section of play. It didn't take long, but it was a huge exposition dump, and I also didn't want to be playing any more – so you get a summary of what I've done up to this point. If this were a conventional adventure game, this would likely mean that I'd be at the 'meat of the quest' by now – I'd have had some sort of trial or ordeal to overcome, and now have a good idea of what the game was really about. Oh, I know what the game's about, alright...

As his disembodied hand raised, I asked myself – someone actually thought
this game was a good idea? Who at Accolade fell for their own marketing?

I actually felt dirty watching this. But not 'excited' dirty – more 'what am I doing with my life' dirty

So, for all of you who are reading, wracking your brains in anxiety for the amazing dialogue that you've missed out on? 'Magnificent' Monique and 'Delectable' Dominique' (Monique is the brunette if you'd like to know them apart) are, you guessed it, IT students who are just moonlighting at the sleazy mud wrestling venue to earn enough money to continue their degrees. Naturally. It turns out that both of them, after soundly defeating Les in the mud wrestling contest in spite of 'everyone winning' at Club Mud, heard him in his semi-comatose state 'talking in Assembly language', 'getting into RISC architecture' and reciting facts and figures about basic personal computer usage. Well, basic by the standards of any who knew what they were talking about back then – 'Extended memory refers to memory at physical addresses above 1 megabyte' is a factoid that doesn't exactly fall to my present computer's standards, in truth. And I did always get a little confused as to the difference between EMS and XMS back in the day...

If these girls were astounded by being told about expanded memory
being accessed through DOS, I imagine I could literally become their
pimp with my actual 'hardware'. No, wait, that's not a euphemism

So, long story short, the entire 'thinly veiled implication that they had sex with Les Manley because he has knowledge of computers oh wait he 'LECTURED' them all night' scene is an excuse to lead up to getting into Murry's hotel (for free? I'm not sure) so that we can get access to a phone jack. See, this is where I realised that things were going off the rails a bit – I thought I needed to literally take the phone jack from the wall in Murry's and bring it to Blade so that he could hack into the FBI for me. Unfortunately, I'd missed a key step in the process. The girls help out with the one flaw that Les' laptop happens to have – a lack of an operating system, generating a DOS disk ('where do you keep it?' 'That's the one thing you can't ask!')

Yeah, I don't care either, game

Remember the days when you could fit an operating system on a single 3 ½ inch floppy?

With a laptop FRESHLY BOOTED and only a phone jack. I call foul here.
 He didn't even have a Telnet session to go through! OR A BLOODY PHONE NUMBER!

.. well that just happened

Yes, I encountered a bloody dead end. See, my mind was saying to me that there was no way I could expect Les to have the knowhow to break into the LAPD – I figured Les needed Blade for that, so I hadn't even registered that I might need to get the password before going to the mud wrestling club. (The password appears to start with 'L', as all of the choices given begin with – 'LaFonda, Lester, Lance, Laboratory' – none of them work.) It's all sorts of ridiculous that this is the end, too – couldn't Les just go downstairs to Blade (who is literally across the street from the place Dominique and Monique took us, 'Murry's Hotel') and ask him for a hand? Tell him that he gets to see two scantily clad women on a bed with only a pair of facial expressions? They wouldn't complain! They fawned over Les just for telling them about hardware settings – imagine what they'd do for a man who broke into the LAPD servers? I'm fairly sure it's not fit for print on this blog. Anyhow, it takes a little exploration (and one of my many dozen savegames) to find that there is actually an extra area I'd not encountered. Near the talent agency is actually a 'run down area' of LA – it doesn't actually look particularly run down, they've just added in a single wall with a tiny bit of graffiti and a random salesman who seems to be selling away (possibly stolen) electronic goods.

You do? Really? WHERE? You don't even have a van!

'Why aren't you selling these in a better part of town?' (Remember back when we
got insulted for not playing the right game? Well, here's your answer as to why it happened)

Naturally, after talking to the man hocking stolen goods for a few moments, we find that he actually considers himself something of a standup businessman, but he's limited by the location as 'he doesn't know the area'. Keeping in mind that this is, after all, near a famous movie studio and is literally an indeterminate distance (I'm going to go with about 'five Les-worth' – he's the only to scale thing on the map) away from Venice Beach. Still, he considers (after a short bit of convincing by Les) that it's a reasonable exchange – a touristy map in exchange for a cellular phone. Back in the early 1990s, where not only were the words 'cellular phone' synonymous with 'gigantic, hundreds of dollars worth of brick' but they were also rather hard to come by. Maybe not so much in Hollywood, I suppose? That's sorta reasonable. Except that we're trading a map that literally has five things on it.

'Oh, really? So I can go to four whole other places?
 Thank god I gave away hundreds of dollars worth of technical equipment!'

Not saying I told you so, game. But...

So, with our freshly TOTALLY NOT STOLEN cell phone, we can go up to Blade and see what he thinks. I don't see any sort of charger cable or what have you in the inventory – but that's okay! I'm sure that Blade, who was waiting for a phone call in a place WITHOUT A PHONE will be fine. So, naturally, Blade calls 408-296-8400 with his new cellphone. He hasn't even worked out a deal with a cell company, but I'm sure that this is fine somehow also. What's that number, I hear you ask? Accolade Tech Support. He asks “In 'Lost in L.A.', what's the password to the LAPD database?” “It's EL... Hey, wait. We don't give out clues. This is Tech Support – not a hint line.”

Anyone else in the fetal position?

GET IT? They're not afraid of saying Elvis any more!

…. Sorry, that was just a minor mental breakdown. Les gets into the LAPD database and starts worming his way through the information on 'priority cases' – parking violations, Elvis sightings (their password is literally two screens into their main database, no wonder that moron Blade was able to break in) and celebrity disappearances! This would feel like an accomplishment if the game had made it feel even remotely like a 'puzzle' as opposed to 'disjointed events that all lead to what you were after'. From an eyewitness to the Helmut/LaFonda disappearance, (presumably one of those faux rappers from the pawn shop) there were two lurking figures at the scene of the crime and a mysterious white limousine. The physical evidence? Two sets of footprints at the mansion, shreds of silver duct tape, a fence cut with wire cutters, strands of long hair and traces of 'Totally Heinous' perfume. 'Totally Heinous'. Because that's something that someone would buy and then cover their body with the scent of. Suffice it to say that after the LAPD found 'no suspects', looking up their info on Maladonna lists that she has an 'insane history of jealousy, never goes anywhere without her two dance partners BOY and TOY (written as listed), always travels in a white limousine and recently endorsed Totally Heinous perfume. Oh, and Abe Goldstein not only is presently going through feuds with big stars but he owns a fleet of white limos. Yup. I'm fairly sure this one's never getting solved – I may as well just bite into that green weenie right now.

Yeah, because this is going to...

.. work

Les decides that now that he can threaten the biggest star of and owner of the movie studio respectively that he should go there now, and he's allowed in. Not even 'has to pretend to be a tourist' – just let in, fully open set, go for your life. Ggrldafn. Gmadfgnnb? Werskjg. The sets could have been a great place for them to show some serious imagination and design? Instead, it's a pair of rooms connected by a gigantic set of airplane hangers. One is a ridiculously opulent office with Abe Goldstein openly sitting behind his desk – but on trying to talk to him, Les instead decides he should 'wait for Todd first' – who tells him to go away. The other room is a horror set for the Friday the 13th/Halloween mashup. With working raft and all!

I'd just like to say well done in getting things COMPLETELY wrong.
 (Korea, maybe, given where the majority of animation work seems to go to these days.)


Les drowns to death. They don't animate it. THE END!

Okay, not really. This is not where Les Manley dies (unfortunately). Instead, I need to place down 'pigeon spoo' in the base of the raft, making it water-worthy. Yes, this game believes that you can actually make a raft water proof by using pigeon droppings. This is not a joke. I want to repeat, this is actually how you have to do this.

I literally took a screenshot so you guys could see that I'm not trying to joke about this.
Much as in the previous game, handling crap is a literal requirement to game completion

The following scene is actually enjoyable – for a few reasons, no less. Les ends up at a cabin in 'CAMP BLOOD' by the river – Lester is less than impressed with Jason's enunciation when he screams 'ARRRRRRGH', and corrects him to have him say 'KILL! BLOOD! PAIN! WOUND! MAIM!' I'll admit to a chuckle. He can also have a short conversation on the way in which he deals with his axe – he's quite impressed with the 'carbonized steel', and Jason clearly states 'I was going through a power drill phase, but you can't beat the sound of bone crunching when you hit them with a well-honed wood axe.' Every other option, however, leads to the same result. 'Did your mother sleep with a hockey team?' 'Freddy's better' or 'Keep making that face and it'll grow that way.' Jason Myers screams, and the following screenshots explain it all – I don't think I need to write any more after this point.

Note Regarding Spoilers and Companion Assist Points
: There’s a set of rules regarding spoilers and companion assist points. Please read it here before making any comments that could be considered a spoiler in any way. The short of it is that no points will be given for hints or spoilers given in advance of me requiring one. Please...try not to spoil any part of the game for me...unless I really obviously need the help...or I specifically request assistance. In this instance, I'm naturally not going to need them because the game is over. Jason kills Les and there's nowhere else to go. THE END!!!!!!!!!!!


  1. Hey, at least you were given the scientific explanation for why the pigeon spoo makes such an effective sealant!
    (And it still beats LSL2's boat trip puzzle)

  2. A peculiar ending for a peculiar game. Are you sure you weren't meant to grab some resurrection card somewhere? Or did the developers come to the conclusion that an axe murder was the only possible way to stop this horrendous experiment?

    1. I'm unsure, but when I called the Accolade tech support hotline for answers, they didn't answer my phone call. :(

    2. The Angry Internet25 February 2016 at 09:58

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    4. Vg'f cebonoyl gur Trezna irefvba Ncr vf cynlvat. Lbh frr, gurl znqr n pbzcyrgryl qvssrerag raqvat sbe gur Rhebcrna znexrg, jurer Yrf tbrf ybbxvat sbe gur Ubyl Tenvy va Y.N. naq raqf hc qrsrngvat srj anmvrf va gur cebprff. Treznal unf cerggl fgevpg erfgevpgvbaf sbe fubjvat anmvf va snzvyl ragregnvazrag, fb gurl whfg phg gur raqvat njnl (frireny Trezna tnzvat zntnmvarf tnir gur tnzr terng erivrjf, orpnhfr bs guvf qrpvfvba: "Qnaxr fpuöa, qnf fpuba uöegr nhs").

    5. Ilmari! Ixnay on the azinays! (You'll ruin the fifteen post run of plot developments!)

  3. The game's over, and I still have no idea what's going on or what you're trying to accomplish. What a seriously craptastic game. Thanks for playing it so none of us ever have to.

    1. Nah, it ain't over til it's over. I should know-- I finished it.

    2. I echo Reiko's sentiment. Ape, this is the second time on this blog I truly, honestly felt sorry that the readership put one of us through a game. The first time I felt this way was with the first Les Manley game.

      Pour yourself a drink, my friend. You've earned it.

  4. And I suddenly remember part of the reason I stopped reading this blog: Every time I would come back, I'd have to slog through the anti-logic of this game. Uggg.

    1. My advise would be that if you are not a completionist, you may as well skip this game completely. Definitely not one of the most stellar adventure games of all times.